Pep Guardiola’s centurions — the reigning Premier League champions — have been handed a tough start to the 2018/19 season with a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.
For Gunners fans, many will witness something new on Sunday — a game not managed by Arsene Wenger — as the club begin a new era under the tutelage of Unai Emery. For Manchester City fans, the question is whether their team can record back-to-back title triumphs for the first time and match last season’s heights.
The Citizens suggested little signs of a hangover from the players’ World Cup duties with a comfortable 2-0 win over Chelsea in last week’s Community Shield. Arsenal, too, had positive pre-season results, though they will count for nothing once the season begins.
The manager may have changed, but Emery, as an obsessive student of the game, will know that last season City defeated Arsenal three times, including in a cup final, scoring three goals on each occasion.
With that in mind, let’s look at some key battles that could decide how Sunday’s match goes.